The National Health Insurance Program (Philhealth) invited ECOP in a public consultation to get inputs and guidance on major policy decisions that will impact the members and stakeholders, particularly regarding the increase on the Philhealth contributions for calendar year 2019.
Representatives from Philhealth gave out power point presentations to the attendees, and mentioned that without imposing a new increase in premium contribution for 2019, Philhealth funds will not be insufficient by the year 2021.
Philhealth added that a .25% increase for every year starting 2019 has already been approved by its Board. The increase will end as soon as the total monthly premium contribution will reach the 5% rate.
On the other hand, ECOP expressed its concern on the timing of the increase, stating that the current economic condition is already causing problems for businesses to cope with. ECOP further stated that the inflation rate for the month of August accelerated to 6.4%, the highest in nearly a decade.
Aside from the accelerating inflation rate, ECOP is also concerned about the cost to employers arising from the increase in premium contributions of employees. As it stands, employees earning from Php 10,000 pesos to Php 39,999.99.00 would now have to pay Php 137 to Php 549.99.00. This is shared equally with the employer. For workers receiving a monthly basic salary of Php 40,000.00 and above, the premium contribution is Php 1,100.00. Again, to be shared equally with the employer.
This means that, for example, a company with 5,000 employees with an average monthly salary of Php 20,000 is already paying a monthly contribution of Php 1,375,000.00 monthly, with the employer paying the same amount. In a year, the contribution each from the employer and employee will amount to a staggering Php 16,500,000.00. This is already an enormous amount for both the employer and the employee, and further increase in the month contribution would negatively greatly impact the cost of doing business.
Considering the continuous increase in the inflation rate and current premium contribution rates, ECOP reiterated its strong and firm position against any increase in premium contributions.